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“Extraordinary experience”
Review of The Linden Centre

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The Linden Centre
Ranked #1 of 532 Hotels in Dali
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 6 October 2013

The Linden is an incredible experience in China.
The staff is so welcoming, so charming... the service is absolutely incredible, and it is worth spending a few days in the middle of the rice fields.
The rooms are just great with exquisite bathrooms - the whole family loved it.
The food is also really good, no need to look elsewhere.
Only proposed activities were slightly disappointing (highly rated and time-shortened) - better to avoid them.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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Thank BLshanghai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 October 2013

We were greeted with disarming friendliness and hospitality by founders Brian and Jeanee and their sons, as well as the rest of the Linden Centre staff. The site chosen for the Linden Centre is amazing -- a meticulously-restored traditional Bai minority courtyard home surrounded by rice fields (which were a beautiful golden color and being harvested during our late September stay). The second-floor deck in the back is a relaxing place to hang out and watch sunrises and sunsets, or look at the stars -- a rare luxury for Chinese-city-dwellers. The food was great and the wait-staff friendly and helpful. It was nice to have free bike rentals to take out and explore the neighborhood. When they found out we were getting married soon they treated us with some very thoughtful little surprises. Other unexpected but fun parts of our stay were being invited to a lunch meal hosted by a local Xizhou leader and friends of the Lindens, and having an after dinner sing-along with a French family, led by Shane Linden and Frank on guitar.

The most impressive thing to us was the Lindens' very obvious passion for China and for their real desire to help their guests have an authentic experience with the culture and history of this amazing country. We wish we could've stayed longer and look forward to coming back. Next time, we want to take part in some of the classes they're offering at their second site in Xizhou.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Josh L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 October 2013

While teaching Sino-US Relations on a Semester at Sea Voyage, I gathered half a dozen shipmates – faculty, students, and lifelong learners -- who were willing to pass up the Forbidden City and the Great Wall to spend our five days in China at my favorite retreat, in Xizhou, a small town in a remote corner of Yunnan. As soon as our ship docked at Shanghai, we flew to Kunming, where we were met by Andrew and a van from the Linden Centre.
When our group awoke the next morning to find themselves in a lovingly restored Dali marble mansion surrounded by breathtaking countryside, they knew the trip had been more than worthwhile. Brian Linden took us in tow for an intimate introduction to the people of Xizhou. A charming and outgoing Sinolophile/art connoisseur/entrepreneur, Brian didn’t even have to knock to gain access to the homes of local families. The next morning, Brian received an invitation from a neighboring village, so everyone at the Centre piled into horse carts or hopped on bicycles to attend a traditional Bai nationality house warming. Thanks to the Centre’s symbiotic relationship with the local people, we felt more like members of an extended family than tourists.
By the time we boarded a plane to rejoin our ship in Hong Kong, our entire group was mesmerized. In the course of our fourteen-weeks’ westward voyage from Ensenada to Barcelona, we visited a dozen ports of call and enjoyed unparalleled opportunities to encounter people from diverse and fascinating places – but, by the end of the trip, our group still ranked our experience at the Linden Centre at the top of our list.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank laodianpiao
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 September 2013

I was angry to see that some arrogant guests said the LInden Centre was ln bad taste and not up to standards or like a back pack hotel. I have never stayed in backpacker hotel that has a GM with 40 years of hotel management experience including GM roles at the Intercontinental, 1000 year antiquities and leading artwork on the walls, a 2000 volume research library open to guests, a fitness centre and meditation/yoga space, 40 bilingual staff for a hotel of 16 rooms, and outstanding chefs- one of whom was the leading chef at Kunming's top hotel and enticed out of retirement by the Lindens.

5 star is not just the linens or a spa facility. True wordly travelers are ready for a great hotel that enriches their life as well as give them the comfort of a five star hotel. I have taken many guest to the LInden Centre and it is a great experience with great taste and lovely rooms and attentive staff.

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled on business
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4  Thank Tootie47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 September 2013

We could not understand the rave reports given this accommodation on Trip Adviser. Our assessment of the hotel was that of an YMCA.

First, we had been booked for 'superior accommodation'. However it turned out that that there is no 'superior' accommodation. Our party was given two ground floor rooms in the second courtyard. One room was quiet small and had no air conditioning. Hot water was only available for limited hours morning and night. We were asked to pre-order our dinner and were given a 'hurry up' while enjoying a pre-dinner drink in our rooms. The standard of meals was very ordinary.

The hotel is some 35 km from the center of Dali and there are no reasonable alternative restaurants available.

For those wishing to experience an 'ethnic' situation the Linden Center may be of interest. However for those who expect 4 or 5 star accommodation choose a hotel in the center of Dali. It is a pretty town and is where I would stay if I visited again.,

Room Tip: Choose a hotel in Dali city
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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3  Thank AUSSIETRAVELADVISER
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brian L, Owner at The Linden Centre, responded to this reviewResponded 16 May 2014

The Linden Centre is proud to be compared to a YMCA given our hotel is so much more than just accommodations. 95% of our guests spend an hour or two in Dali and leave. Our average stay is 3-5 days. Clearly there are guests for souvenir shops and pizza cafes. That is what Dali (and Chinese mass tourism) thrives on. For those guests who want to visit old China, without the tourists, bars and ubiquitous shops of scarves and t-shirts, our "YMCA" offers an award-winning option. Our rooms do have air-conditioning/heating and our head chef is a 57 year old chef who was the head chef at Yunnan's leading hotel throughout the 1990s. Our food is accessed daily at our local market and contains no MSG or other artificial additives. It has been highlighted in magazines such as China's Conde Nast Traveler and on Chinese Central TV.

Because we are housed in a national relic- protected at the same level as the Great Wall- we were unable to put water holding tanks, solar panels, and change the footprint of the original rooms. Our guests are usually away from the Centre during the day, so we turn off the pump that supplies water to our building's half-acre footprint. This is to conserve energy, and we tell all guests very clearly and include signs in each bathroom that we are happy to turn on the pump if guests want to take showers between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. For 99% of our visitors, this is a small price to pay (to have to ask the front desk to turn on the water) to have the opportunity to stay in one of SW China's most important and pristine historic buildings.

Dali offers non-indigenous, newly constructed cement hotels surrounded by pizzas, t-shirts and massage parlors. We may offer a so-called 'YMCA' experience- which I believe means friendly and genuine service with a greater mission (ours being the desire to preserve China's heritage). At the same time we compliment this service by offering unprecedented access to a historic building with Ming and Qing Dynasty antiques throughout (have yet to see a YMCA with leading art pieces and 500 year old antiques in the rooms!). We encourage those who want the latter to venture down to Xizhou.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 September 2013

Visited the Linden Centre for a few days during our recent trip to Dali, Yunnan with my husband and parents. We enjoyed the beautiful restoration of the authentic historic building and the peacefulness of Xizhou. The staffs at Linden Center were very helpful too especially Annie who took us around Xizhou and the morning market. She was very warm, friendly and even speaks the same native tongue as we do therefore my parents were very happy to meet her as they do not speak Mandarin.
My husband and I are looking forward to visiting Xizhou again and will definitely stay at Linden Centre.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Puteri_love
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 September 2013

I have now stayed at the Linden Centre three times and look forward to my next visit. It ranks among my favorite hotels anywhere for several reasons. The gorgeous and tranquil setting; meticulously restored traditional house, filled with museum quality antiques; The attentive and knowledgeable staff, some of whom have become friends of mine; The friendly but never familiar service and the interesting people I have make this a very special place.

There are are few things that visitors should be aware of. Rooms are very comfortable but simple. There is no pool or spa and there are no televisions in the rooms but there is a television lounge. However, I have never seen anyone in it, perhaps because conversation with other guests in the bar is far more entertaining. The cuisine is authentic local cooking, which is delicious but not fancy. And there are no shops or nightlife nearby. But the Linden Centre offers unique opportunities to take part in local life and culture in ways that other hotels do not and I can get my shopping and nightlife elsewhere.

Room Tip: Rooms in the back courtyard will be quieter and have more light.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled solo
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Thank Walse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Linden Centre

Address: No.5 Chengbei Village, Xizhou Town, Dali 671004, China
Phone Number:
Region: China > Yunnan > Dali
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Dali
#6 Best Value Hotel in Dali
Price Range: £83 - £155 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The Linden Centre 3*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Linden Centre is a meticulously restored courtyard mansion in the pristine Yunnan village of Xizhou. Great care was taken to preserve the beautiful Bai architecture of this nationally protected cultural heritage hotel, while modern conveniences including heating and air conditioning were added to ensure guests a comfortable and absolutely unique stay. In this elegant setting, connect with the local ethnic cultures that make this part of China so special. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Linden Centre Hotel Dali

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